Home Forums Let’s Talk Photography What is the Value of a Good Photograph/Photographer? Reply To: What is the Value of a Good Photograph/Photographer?


I find that here, most diner-type places and the restaurants competing with the chains (like Applebee’s, TGI Fridays) and that level want photos on their menus, most of the more expensive places don’t… but most of them do want them on their websites. (I’m a graphic designer – print only, working at a printer). The problem for me is that when I’m designing a new menu, half the time I get “Of course it HAS to have photos on it! Just find a photo of a good burger and a salad!” with no money budgeted whatsoever for stock photos, and only 1-2 days to send them the proof. I often end up using free stock of usually mediocre quality for those reasons.

The other half of the time? The owner of the restaurant got out his iPhone and snapped a few blurry shots of the food he and his buddies were eating while watching the game and sharing a few beers. I do what I can to salvage them in Photoshop, but they balk at paying for my design time, much less paying an actual photographer to take good photos. I get a lot of “How much? My nephew is good at Photoshop/has Publisher/took a class in high school – I’ll have him do it.” And our prices for art time are by no means unreasonable.

Every phone has a camera, so some people see no need to pay for photographers, just like almost every computer has Word, Publisher, or Powerpoint (or Paint…) so some people see no need to pay a designer. Some people actually seem unable to see the difference between a good photo and a bad one. Some people are excited about the idea “I took that photo myself!” and want theirs used no matter how bad they are, no matter how it will affect their business.

I try to encourage hiring professional photographers whenever possible, though I admit doing a lot of photos for my company myself (and I am by no means a pro)! I do those on company time, so at least I’m paid for them in that way. I love our customers who understand the value of a really good photo – they are rare gems! The others… I do my best with what I’m given.